Robert Sansone said he loved to cook from a young age. When he was 10 years old, he said he made a grilled cheese sandwich, looked at it and thought to himself, “I could market that.”
“I’ve always loved sandwiches,” he said. “I think they’re like a blank canvas. There’s so much you can do, and they’re so underappreciated.”
The idea of making the cheesy sandwich profitable never went away. So when Robert left the corporate world to start his own venture, he turned to the grilled cheese sandwich.
The result was Cheezie’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese, which opened in August 2014. The family-owned restaurant specializes in homemade grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. Robert, a co-owner, runs the restaurant with his wife, Amy.
Staying true to Robert’s chef background, nearly everything served at Cheezie’s is made in-house, including the pickles and fried pies.
“Honestly, you shouldn’t be able to sell something you don’t make,” he said.
Robert said the ingredients are vitally important to making the sandwiches work, starting with the base ingredients: the bread and the cheese.
Cheezie’s uses bread from a local artisan bakery and has more than 10 cheeses for its
sandwiches and mac and cheese.
The dishes are combined with “unexpected” flavors through a variety of meats, sauces and vegetables, Robert said. This includes the Memphis Melt sandwich ($7.99), which has pulled pork, coleslaw and spicy barbecue sauce.
“It gives it a whole different flavor profile when you bite into it,” Robert said. “It’s not what you expect.”
Although the dishes are geared more to an adult’s palate, Robert said he has found that children also love the food.
“Children appreciate textures, flavors, and people overlook that all the time,” he said.
Cheezie’s is all about food fun, Robert said, meaning it is all about creating an experience for the diner that is both adventurous and delicious.
“The humble grilled cheese can be a dining experience,” he said. “It just depends on who’s making it and if it is coming from the heart.”
Cheezie’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese
5995 Preston Road, Ste. 102
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.